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Engineering grad lives his aviation childhood dream

Pilot Amr Yosry earns Top 40 Under 40 industry honours
September 2, 2021
By Aviva Engel, BA 02

Amr-Yosry-1920x “I’m grateful for the opportunity to transport essential goods to isolated communities,” says pilot Amr Yosry. | Photo: Nuno Pereira Photography

On a frigid January day when the temperature outside felt like -45 degrees Celsius, Amr Yosry, BEng 16, stopped to refuel his twin-engine turboprop ATR-72 airliner in the Inuit community of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, 120 minutes by air from his base in Thompson, Manitoba.

After refueling, the Calm Air first officer continued to fly deep into the Arctic. Navigating in brutal winds and low visibility for two hours, he touched down on another northern runway to unload 15,000 pounds of cargo. Then he refuelled again and set out on the four-hour journey back to Thompson.

For Yosry, it was just another day doing a job he loves.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to transport essential goods to isolated communities,” he says. “It’s very fulfilling. We bring groceries that people depend on. We also fly snowmobiles, quads and motors for boats, which are important sources of transportation.

Pilot Amr Yosry stands outside a Calm Air plane, with his arms folded across his chest. Amr Yosry serves as first officer for Calm Air. | Photo: Nuno Pereira Photography

“During the pandemic’s early days, we transported many oxygen tanks to communities, in case there was an outbreak. Later we brought vaccines. Every time I go to work, I feel a sense of pride and purpose knowing that I’m making a difference in people’s lives.”

Top 40 Under 40

For his accomplishments, Yosry was recently named one of the Top 40 Under 40 aerospace and aviation professionals in Canada for 2021 by Wings magazine. He hopes to inspire the next generation of students to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs and fulfill their childhood dreams like he did.

As a youngster in Egypt, Yosry had big dreams of becoming a pilot. At age nine, he joined the Air Scouts, which sparked his passion for airplanes and flight. He decided to pursue aviation as a profession after a fellow scout introduced him to Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004.

“I spent hours playing it every day,” Yosry recalls. “The software included manuals which I printed, highlighted and studied as though I was in flight school. I pledged that when I moved to Canada, I would study aviation as a career.”

Yosry moved to Montreal in 2010 and began flight school a year later. He also had another childhood interest he wanted to cultivate: motion and propulsion.

“When I was younger, I really enjoyed observing mechanisms, hydraulic systems and things in motion,” he says. “My parents took me to a theme park and after I rode a roller coaster, I just stood there and watched it, trying to discern what actually made it turn, stop and brake.”

‘My degree broadens my perspective’

In 2012, Yosry was thrilled to be admitted to Concordia’s Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, where he studied mechanical engineering, majoring in aerodynamics and propulsion.

“Engineering is the perfect complement to aviation,” he says. “From the point of view of operating an aircraft, having that degree allows you to think critically. You can easily call up an article online and understand what’s going on; it gives you that research edge.

“It really helps when we test and learn new aircraft systems. I understand why the flight controls work the way they do, why the safety valves are positioned here and there. I have a deeper insight into everything. My degree broadens my vision and perspective.”

Yosry fondly remembers the connections he built at Concordia, both with classmates and fellow members of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute, a student association where he “drew a lot of inspiration” from peers who shared their flying experiences.

“A STEM education opens up a lot of opportunities and hundreds of career possibilities,” he says. “It makes you versatile and well-rounded.”

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